Tuesday, March 31, 2009

smart car follow up


I spoke with Andrea from smart center La Vista today.  

Andrea informed me they have 3 employees at her store and one man was at the Expo this weekend.  He had a great weekend, met a lot of people and answered a lot of questions.  She did say perhaps he was on a bathroom break when I came by.  Or maybe he was talking to other vendors.  This was their first trip to an event like this in the area and these vendors are the kind of people that are their customers.  I did explain I was there from at least one to three thirty Sunday and kept coming back to look for the sales rep - and never found him.  

I asked her to leave a comment on the blog perhaps explaining that.  She declined.  It is not their policy.  As long as they have a conversation with the customer (me) and its good, that is their directive.   She did say it was too bad I blogged about the experience before calling them.  

I think with the advent of usage of social media by everyday blokes like me - things are going to be a lot more transparent.  Not in a big brother kind of way.   But in a take pride in what you do way - we are all watching.  

I also asked Andrea what social media tools they use.  She did say they have a blog.  Amanda is the brand manager for her company.

Let me say that I LOVE THE SMART CAR!  I'm sure that one day I will have one.  And that day will be this year.  

I also think that the smart car people could be more proactive and be on twitter.  Check out @cavan at the Des Moines Register.  He addresses questions people may have, he works with bloggers in Iowa.  Or @bestbuyremix - Keith Burtis is always available to address any questions or issues about Best Buy. 

 Some of the biggest car companies are on twitter and are using it as a vehicle to talk to customers, fight misconceptions and drive people into the showroom.  @AdamDenison is the Chevrolet guy on twitter. @ScottMonty  is from Ford. @Alicia_at_Honda is the woman from Honda.   Check out Mashables Top 40 Best Twitter Brands.  

I think every retail kind of business should be on Twitter.  But hey, that's just my opinion.

What do you think? 

image courtesy of kazze at flickr.com via creative common license 

Monday, March 30, 2009

smart car

I was in Rome in January 2000 and first saw the smart car.  I fell in love with it immediately.  All my friends know I'm crazy about the smart car.  

It just became available in January 2008 in the U.S.    I had not been near a dealership, or seen the Smart Car out and about. 

Finally, this weekend, at the Natural Living Expo in Des Moines there was a smart car.  They were actually one of the Silver Sponsors.  The car itself was located in the lobby.

I walked past it all afternoon Sunday.  I didn't stop because there were 4 young girls (tweens) in the car listening to the radio.  I never did see a sales rep.

Finally, I stopped and asked the girls to get out.  They looked at me strange and said they were allowed to be in the car.  I asked again, explaining I wanted to sit in the car.  They got out.  I asked one of the girls to take my phone and take my picture.  She graciously did so.  

The minute I got in the car, several adults came over and were looking at the car.  One couple thanked me for asking the girls to get out.  They were considering buying a Smart Car and really wanted to get a closer look.  

I asked the young girls where the sales rep was, and they told me he said they could sit in the car.  I laughed and asked again.  They didn't know.

There was a small brochure on the windshield of the car.  I took one.  I've called the smart center La Vista and requested to speak to someone about what happened over the weekend.  I ended up leaving a message for Andrea to call me tomorrow morning.  We'll see.  

Bad customer service.  Extremely.  I wonder why that was so?  Was it better on Saturday?  How many sales did they lose?  Can they afford to provide this kind of service?  Is the smart car in such high demand that they can provide this kind of customer service?  

I still love the car.  I will probably get one with the Senior Director promotion sometime this year.  But I probably won't buy it from this dealership.  Too bad for them.  I wonder how many other sales they lost?  

smart car Facts:
  • 8.8 feet long, 5.1 feet side and 5.1 feet tall
  • the smart safety system has a tridion safety cell, made from reinforced steel similar to a racecar roll cage
  • the vehicle has four airbags
  • esp and abs as standard
  • over 1,000,000 smart vehicles have been sold in 36 other countries throughout the world
  • 70 hp, 3 cylinder, 1 liter gasoline powered engine
  • 2009 EPA MPG rating of 33 city/41 highway
  • top speed 90 mph
  • 2008 smart fortwo coupe received the highest 
  • front and side crashworthiness ratings from the Insurance Institute for HIghway Safety 
  • www.smartusa.com 
In all fairness to smart center La Vista, I have left a voicemail message and sent an email.  Let's see if they respond! 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Reflection


This has been a weekend for reflection.  I was in a car from Cincinnati to Geneva Iowa, riding as a passenger.  Plenty of time to think and reflect.  

I had a conversation with Erin and in true Erin form, she pointed out some pretty harsh realizations.  The first realization is that I don't have to be so stinking nice to everyone.  I don't have to solve all the problems of the world.  

First reaction was "what? I don't have to take care of everyone?".  What if someone won't like me?  Erin not so gently pointed out that it's not personal, it's not about me.   That sometimes I have to say F*ck You.  

I then read a book, Honeymoon With My Brother, and on page 100 it says this:
I didn't do that fight makeup stuff well.  Neither did he.  Both of us had a serious case of conflict avoidance.  Armchair pyschologists would say that's because our parents had one of those old-fashioned, Dad-says/Mom-agrees (or at least humors him) relationships.  Maybe.  All I know is that when either of us heard a raised voice, we'd want to escape.  I thought about the times my flight from fight reflex had postponed resolutations to my problems. 

Was he talking about me?  Sounded like it.

I'm taking a new position with recruiting in my business.  I'm taking the THIS IS WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR position.  No more holding hands, begging someone to take a look, waiting for responses forever.  No more letting someone tell me I don't have a real job.  

Now let's put that in positive speak.

I'm looking for someone who wants to create multiple streams of income.  I'm looking for someone with a positive, can-do attitude and is willing to work smart.  I'm looking for someone who can make their own decisions.  Is that you?

No?  

Thanks, next. 

Related link:


picture courtesy of aimee at flickr.com

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Letting Go


This week I had a terrible experience.  Someone I love turned on me.  We haven't talked in a long time, and that's not so unusual as you get older.  I've asked for pictures and attempted communication on facebook - but had no response.  Finally I had to relay a message that was not pleasant.  And frankly, I relayed it badly.  And by voicemail.  I did call back and speak to her husband and apologize and let them know I really didn't mean to be so rude in the delivery.

She won't talk to me.  I think probably never.  

My first instinct is to try to fix it.  This problem.  That's what I do - fix things.

But what do you do when it can't be fixed?  She believes she is right.  Adamant about it.  I believe there are two sides to every story and just maybe we are both wrong and both right.  

I finally had to decide something.  Did I want to be happy, or did I want to be right?  

I wished her and her family well, told her I loved her.  I doubt if I hear back from her.  I chose happy.   

As always on this blog I look for ways to tie our personal life into our professional life.  Where else in my life am I holding onto something that is no longer working for me?  Is there something I think I need to fix - when really, I need to let it go?  

picture courtesy of Capture Queen at flickr.com 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

JC Penney Update


Monday I talked about
JC Penney sponsoring my outfit for SOBCon 2009.  

I received this automated email:
Thank you for your email.  We appreciate your taking the time to provide us with your comments and suggestions. This email is automatically generated to let you know that JCPenney has received your email.  A JCPenney Representative will respond to you within 48 hours. You can always access helpful customer service information at www.jcpenney.com. For information regarding the JCPenney company you can log onto www.jcpenney.net. Thank you for choosing JCPenney.

Oh boy!  I was looking forward to that contact.  48 hours would have been sometime on Wednesday.  It's Thursday night.  No email.  No phone call.  No twitter.  No blog comment.  No facebook remark.  Nothing.  

I found some media contacts at www.jcpenney.comI'll try the Corporate Communications Media people.  I'll keep you updated!    

picture courtesy of Guthrie at flickr.com 

What's Wrong With This Picture


I'm always looking for people who want to earn additional revenue.  I particularly like smart people.  

They use whatever is available as a marketing tool.  It's great when you can use your available time to market yourself and what you do.  It's even better when you can do it for free.  That's why car signs are valuable.  

So what's missing in this picture?  THE PHONE NUMBER!  I thought I'd give her a call and see how her business was going.  Was she looking to add another stream of revenue?  

You laugh - but this person has a big problem.  She has forgotten to list her phone number.  Is she wondering why no one is calling her?  

Where in your business have you forgotten an important element?    

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

City Barbeque

Lunch on the road - it can be a challenge.  Empty calories for food that doesn't taste that great.  

Not the case yesterday - we went to City Barbeque at 7706 Voice of America Centre, West Chester OH (http://cityqbbq.com

You walk in into a rustic setting and see smiling Tony behind the counter.  It's North Carolina kind of barbeque - vinegar in the sauce and pulled pork.

But wait -- did I see ribs?  Oh buddy I did!  It was buck a bone day.  I had five ribs, homemade french fries and rootbeer from a tap.  Ten bucks.  Six different sauces to choose from - I tried the sweet barbeque and the mustard barbeque sauces.   There was no wait for the food.  You place the order, and go pick it up.  

Premium smoked meats that are smoked on site and can take up to 20 hours to prepare. They sometimes sell out and refuse to take short cuts.  If they're out, they're out.  They want to give you only the best, and not cut corners.  

Take a sample first.  Go on, try a bite.  See if you like it before you order.  

If you get to your table, and eat a little and realize it's not what you wanted, it doesn't taste good to you -- just bring it back up.  They will replace it with a similiarly priced item, no questions asked.  

What lessons did I learn from City Barbeque?
- smiling customer service
- good selection within their niche
- proper preparation
- free samples
- fair prices
- no questions asked return policy
- best product in the county

I think we may go back today .....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blogging - Are You?


Today I've put together the posts about blogging I've written for my 100 series into one spot.  If you aren't blogging, this is a good place to start reading to see if you want to!   If you are blogging, I would love to see your comments.  












picture courtesy of Mike Licht 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jc Penny: Are You Listening?


I'm going to SOBCon09 May 1,2 and 3rd. In Chicago. You do know women in Chicago like to look good. I'm a tall woman of some size. Proud of it. A big challenge for me is finding clothes that fit around my hips and pants that are long enough. I finally found some killer jeans at JC Penney - Worthington brand.

I got a brilliant idea. What if JCPenney sponsored my wardrobe? Wouldn't that be great for both of us? Lots of pics and posts about the brand, where I got them, reactions to them. Sounds like a good marriage to me.

I looked all over for a marketing site for JCPenney. www.jcpenney.com The first thing you see is a letter from Mike Ullman promising to deliver quality and affordable prices. Wow! That's what we need! I can help market that idea. I went to the contact us button and clicked on email us. Then I chose Community Relations, wouldn't you think that's where a contact would be for me? Hmmmm .... when you click on that contact page - it takes you right back to the first contact page! I did email customer service the following email:

I bought a pair of Worthington jeans, size 24. I LOVE THEM! Perfect fit, great look. Here's what I'd like to do. I am a blogger (www.debworks.com) and will be attending the SOBCon blogging event May 1,2, and 3 of May in Chicago. www.sobevent.com I'd like JCPenny to sponsor my wardrobe. It's not often you can find great looking clothes for big women - and you've done it. Why not sponsor my outfits for the three days? I will take pictures, video blog it, and write about it as well. A small investment on your part, for a big return. Please contact me at 641-580-0103. My name is Debra Brown and I look forward to talking to you!

Let's see what kind of response (if any) I get.............

Twitter For All


Over the last 30 days I've written several posts on how to twitter, twitter results and just plain twitter info.   I have compiled them here in one post - objective: make it easy

I'll be teaching class in May and these posts will be part of my curriculum.  Advice?  Read and get ready!  









 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

SOBCon Preparations


SOBCon is just around the corner! May 1, 2 and 3. In this post I'll give highlights of the conference and what I'm doing in preparing for the event. This is a continuation of my post for 2/27/09 http://debworks.blogspot.com/2009/02/sobcon-action-points.html
Friday Topics are:
Trust Agents with Chris Brogan and Julien Smith the men who wrote the book on trust in building community and participation in a 21st century business.
Internet Content and Online Assets by founder of Copyblogger and teaching sells.
The Business and the Blog Denise Wakeman and Chris Cree discuss what to do, know and expect from a blog based business.
Essentials of a Business Blog by Stephen Smith and Michael Martine run down key parts and uses of great business blogs.
The Back Office by Saul Colt and Terry Starbucker who offer the tools and strategies for keeping administration on track.
Accessibility Markets by Glenda Watson Hyatt, Karen Putz and Stephen Hobsonwho explain how to tailor your webmarket to meet a specific market.
Preparation: explore these bloggers and see what it is they have done to monetize their blogs. Are they business blogs? What kind of content do they provide? What kind of business will/am I doing that speaks to a business blog?
Saturday is a day filled with workshops. It's called Models and Masterminds. Presenters discuss one aspect of the ROI of Relationships in Social Media Business. Each presenter offers a model or an actionable strategy. Attendees working in teams of five or six people immediately discuss and apply the model to their business.
Presenters and topics are:
Terry Starbucker on SOBCon and Entrepreneurship
Kali Evans-Raoul on Being Seen, Heard and Understood – Transparency and Visibility as Connectors in Business
Lauren Freeman on e-Commerce Strategies
Brian Solis on Communication Networks and Competition on the Social Sphere
KD Paine on The ROI of Relationships in Social Media
Liz Strauss on Negotiating Relationships: Growth Strategy Communications
Preparation: Frankly, I just want to be open to this day and go with the flow. I will be working at a time with 5 or 6 people masterminding each presentation and seeing how it applies to me.
Sunday is where attendees get the chance to “meet the challenge” and show corporate sponsors how social media can connect their product with their customers. We’re offering sponsors a small window to bring a product or problem to the attendee audience to work on.

The corporate sponsors this year (so far) are WalMart, Blog Catalog, IttyBiz, Beam Global Spirits and Wine, BuzzCorps, Summit Executive Center.

Preparation: This is exciting! I will be able to look at my sponsorship and see how I can lay this onto what it is my sponsors are looking for. I will be meeting with Pat Palmer The Computer Guy, Board members of the Franklin County Historical Society, Judy Wrolson from Cornerstone Cottage, Vern and Judy Harper from Townsend Winery. I am looking for a few more sponsors at $200 each – could that be you?

What are you doing to prepare for your next convention?  

picture of orb from last SOBCon courtesy of cmcbrown 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tools I Want


I just read an email that says I need to ask the universe for the things I want.  Sounded good to me.  So I'm asking for the following items.  I'm even telling you why I need them!

A green flip.  As in Flip Video Mino HD (www.theflip.com) I'd like to branch out into video blogging.  I could use the webcam on my Dell Inspiron 1525.  It works great.  But it doesn't work well with a satellite connection in the country, where I live and work.  My only other choice is dial up, and well, just can't do it.  The flip will also make it possible for me to be much more portable, woman on the street interviewing.   If not the Mino HD then the Ultra would be very cool too.

A chair, that rolls, and sits high.  I have long legs.  A regular desk doesn't cut it for me.  I like to sit up high.  I also like my back not to hurt!  The Steelcase Think Chair would work for me.  

Nike Air Pegasus Shoes.  I am officially an armchair athelete and affiliated with www.trainforhumanity.org  My gymies are 4 years old.  I need new ones, and good ones.  My feet need to be measured but I will probably be a 10 or 11 wide.  

A 4 drawer, rolling filing cabinet.  I need all my files in one place and the ability to move that cabinet around.  I like to rearrange!   I couldn't find any 4 full drawer cabinets - suggestions? 

That's a short list.  It's a good start though.  What tools do you want? 

The picture is a running hot dog (by Randy son of Robert) - some days I feel like that.  I do like the palm trees in the background though.  







Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tools


Calendar
I use Google calendar.  I like it.  It's easy to set up appointments, get reminders and it syncs with my Blackberry.  

For years I vasciliated between hard copy calendar systems and online ones.  I finally just made up my mind to use the benefits of the Blackberry and Google.  

The hardest part?  Making up my mind.

Cellphone
Blackberry Pearl.  Small, with internet capabilities I need.  I can check all of my email.  I see Facebook updates.  I take pictures and send them to twitpic.  The keyboard is just like a keyboard, kind of.  If I had to do it over, I would probably choose the full size Blackberry - where the keyboard really is like a keyboard.  

I had to learn how to use it.  Once again, the hardest part was making up my mind to do it.

Documents
I use www.openoffice.org  I have a word processing system, a spreadsheet system, a presentation system -- that all look like Microsoft Office products.  Except Open Office is free.  

No hard part here.  Decision was easy.  Why?  I know the Microsoft software and receiving similiar products was a no brainer.  

Video
I am using www.viddler.com  (Gary Vaynerchuk recommended it)  I am playing around with my webcam.  Nothing serious yet.  My biggest dilemma?  My internet connection.  I'm in the country and rely on satellite.  It is usually slow - not dial up slow, but intermittent slow.  Doesn't mix well with video uploads.

Hard part?  I haven't made up my mind to work this all out, yet. 

Social Media
I use facebook, twitter and blogging.  There are many options.  Seth Godin said choose 3 or 4 and work them.    

Twitter was probably the hardest to get going.  I had to spend days building a network that was helpful to me.  Why did I do it?  I saw the value to my life and my business.  

What tools to you use?  What are your hard parts?  What value do they bring? 

You can find me here:
www.twitter.com/debworks
www.debworks.com
www.readhampton.com
www.travelwoman.com 
On facebook, search for Debra During Brown 





Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want To Know


Just what is it I do?  

I'm a Regional Marketing Executive for my company.  I am expanding my team in other areas.  Our team is the fastest growing team in the company.  We teach others how to bring in additional revenue, around what you currently do.  Here's a great description of what I'm looking for.

The Regional Marketing Executive (RME) acts as the primary field representative to markets and customers in their chosen territory. 

Responsibilities:
1. Present company products and services to current and potential customers.

2. Enroll consumers per terms of the program.

3. Adhere to daily and weekly meeting schedules in a timely manner.

4. Follow up with enrolled consumers and meet assigned deadlines.

5. Develop and achieve short and long term goals for the Company’s products in their chosen territories and markets.

6.  Attend conventions as required to be trained by the company.

7. Work with other field managers from other territories within the company in a team environment to achieve maximum results for the Company as a whole.

8. Be aware of and participate in any local associations that may contribute to the community awareness of the brand and produce enrollment opportunities.



Qualifications:
• Ability to be trained as management with emphasis on profitable growth.
• Computer skills; use of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email.
• Highly self-motivated and goal oriented. Able to work independently.
• Excellent time management skills
• Strong presentation and inter-personal skills

Compensation:

Commission plus bonus pay structure.

You will be trained to become an independent marketing executive. This is a 1099 business opportunity. It is not for everyone. We require you to listen to/view a live business overview that will take 45 minutes of your time. At that point, your interview will begin and we can determine if this is a match for both of us.

So who do you know that could use additional income? 



Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Marriage of Blogging and Twitter

This is a great photo from Ogilvy's  360 degrees digital influence team.  You can view it better at this link.  
They have a Twitter strategy for Customer Relations, Crisis Management, Corporate Reputation Management, Event Coverage, Product Promotion and Sales and Issues Advocacy.  

Ogilvy takes that strategy and figures out who to follow, how to create content for each area and how to engage.  

Brilliant!  

Now let's work the concept a little (maybe a lot).

You're a blogger.  You've figured out what the intention of your blog.  You may have even created a mission statement.  How can you meld blogging with twitter?

First of all - DON'T jam your blog down people's throats.  Big no no.  People stop following you when you do that.  Twitter is an arena where you can have a conversation.  

Now let's figure out where we might need to create a strategy for our blogs.

Customer Relations: ask yourself these questions.  
1.  Who reads your blogs?  
2. Who do you want to read your blogs?

Once you've determined who your customers are (and customers don't necessarily have to be buying anything - they can just be called clients), you'll want to create content relevant for them.  You'll start engaging them, having conversations, responding to their comments.  You will also keep looking for new clients to follow on twitter.  Utilize www.search.twitter.com and www.twellow.com  

22 tweets per day is deemed the optimum number of tweets.  (per hubspot)   I tweet about my blog post for that day maybe 5 times (that's the high end).  It's enough.  The rest of the time should be spent engaging in conversation with followers.  

Let's stop for today.  Go find some people to follow.  Write a blog post.  Talk to someone.  Engage.  Converse.  Comment!  

Oh yeah - Happy St. Patrick's Day! (read here why we drink green beer) 



Monday, March 16, 2009

Goodbye to Winter: Top 10 Things I'll Miss


Tabetha Gedeon has a group writing project.  I like these projects.  They help hone your skills, introduce you to other bloggers/writers and get you thinking outside of the box.  Any good blog needs to think outside the box once and awhile.  

Here's how it works.  You are assigned a topic.  You blog about the topic.  You link back to the original assignment (see link above).  You read and comment on what others have written about.  It's a nice little network!  

Today I was assigned to write about saying goodbye to winter. What part of winter will I miss

Everyone who knows me, and now you too, knows that I hate winter.  Mostly I just hate the cold and the inconvenience.  So thinking about what I'll miss is a challenge.  One I'm up for!

Top TenThings I'll Miss About Winter
1. an occasional Sunday off from church because the roads are plugged
2. the virgin view of new snow
3. deer right in front of my picture window
4. the joy it brings my great nephew who loves to shovel
5. the eagles in January flying over my farm
6. warm toasty bed days (in bed, with books, computer, and phone - all day)
7. warm heated floors from the corn burner in the basement
8. wrapping Christmas gifts and imagining receivers happiness
9. sleigh rides and hay rides
10. seeing my brother pissed off because he has to dig out my driveway (he won't show me how to use the tractor so that's what he gets) 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Are You Writing?


Back to blogging.

It's been three days.  Have you written three posts?  

Ahh, maybe you did.  Will you keep up on that pace?  Do you want to?  

Maybe you didn't.  What do you think you're blogging pace will be?  

Here are some things to consider.

1. Dont assume that blogging every day makes your posts good blog posts.  What it does for me is create consistency.  I need help in my life being consistent!  I know all of my posts are not good ones!  As I write more, I get better.  I'm consistently doing something.  This rolls over into other areas of my life.  

2.  What is it you are trying to say on your blog?  It took me a couple of months of writing to start to see what my blog was going to be about.  I created an intentions statement.  The intention of my blog is to share knowledge, entertain when possible, and merge work life with home life.  Then I narrowed it down even further to say: Interviews and information for and about small businesses and network marketers.  

3. How long are your posts?  I have the habit of making mine too long.  I'm working on that.  I'm finding the balance that works for me.  

picture provided by Marcin Wichary at flickr.com 


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lessons at Hardees


I had a meeting at Hardees.  We (I) chose Hardees because they have free wifi.  

I got there early and saw they had a sign for fish and chips.  That's a new item out here in the Midwest.  The general manager was working the register.  I asked her how she liked the fish and chips. She swallowed, hard.  Then she looked me right in the eye and said "the fish last year was better.  It's a lot of money for fish that isn't the absolute best. " 

Give that lady a medal!  A big whopping humungous blue ribbon of a medal.  She told the truth to a customer.  Guess where I'll keep eating?

I sat down and set up my computer.  I couldn't get the wifi to connect.  The manager (same lady) brought my food back to me and asked was I okay.  I told her I couldn't get connected.  She let me know she had no idea how to get connected, but ....now get this .... the cook did!  She said she'd send him back to help me.   He was there in minutes.  Static IP problems resolved quickly.

Guess where I'll keep eating?  


Friday, March 13, 2009

Project Friday: Part of Balance

It's Friday.  It's going to be warm today.  Let's deviate from the main path.  I want to talk about some other projects I'm working on!

1. www.oldstonehouse.org  I volunteer for and sit on the board of the Franklin County Historical Society.  The Old Stone House was built in 1854 and we are currently working n getting grants to bring the building up to speed.  We are also pursuing an opportunity with a state agency who is giving away $75,000 worth of PR!   If you've got any ideas on fundraising, I'm very open to them.  Let me know!  

2. www.needalittleadvice.com  I own it, now what am I going to do with it?  It's been a running joke with my youngest brother and I.  We will call each other and say "need a little advice?" - and then proceed to give some!  

3. www.realfundraiser.com I'm becoming more and more involved with people who care.  It's a nice change and I'm learning so much!  Through my job I have an opportunity to help non-profits create an ongoing fundraiser.  Interested?  Take a look!

4. www.sobevent.com  I'm going and here's the exciting part -- I'm being sponsored by local businesses!  I figure it will take about $1,000 for the trip (admission and hotel).  Pat Palmer The Computer Guy and Judy from Townsend Winery are on the line so far.   I'll bring back a business plan for your company on how to utilize a blog and create revenue from it.  I won't be doing more than 4 businesses (at $250 each for sponsorship) - contact me if you are interested.  Let's talk! 

5. Writing a last wishes document with my folks.  This sounds sad, doesn't it?  I suppose it is a little.  But it is also very freeing - they don't have to worry that we won't do it right!  We don't have to worry we won't know what to do.  As executor, oldest daughter and smartest child (smile), I get to do these kind of things.  Yesterday we bought a lawnmower - but that's another story.....

the picture attached is of my mom and her best friend Pat ... one day I'll tell that story too.




Thursday, March 12, 2009

Referrals - Be Helpful


Let's talk about referrals.

In my business, I have the pleasure of presenting an opportunity to shop for better, safer products you already use.  Not everyone I present to becomes a client.  And that's okay.  

I do, however ask everyone for referrals.   I also make sure that they themselves see my entire presentation in order to feel comfortable in giving me referrals.  

It's simple really.  Not everyone wants to switch shopping or consider adding additional revenue to their income.  But everyone wants to be helpful.

Asking for referrals in this manner allows my possible clients the opportunity to help me (give me referrals), help themselves (makes them look good) and to help their friends (to get better safer products).

You cheat yourself and your possible client when you don't ask for referrals! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Write Now!


Today is the day - let's begin your blog.

Sign into your account.  Do this by going to the website (I would go to www.debworks.com) and then sign in.

Then click on New Post.  It will open up a page where you'll write.  Be sure to give your post a great title.    We will not be adding links today, so don't worry about that.

Here's a few clues on writing a blog people want to read.
1. Write like you talk.
2. Make short paragraphs.
3. Provide information people want.
4. It's great to provoke people - make them think!
5. Ask for comments if you want them.  

See Post Options?  If you click on that you can enter the date and and time you want your blog post to be active.  I often write 2 or 3 posts at a time!  

See Labels for this post?  You'll want to put a few words here, separated by commas, that describe what this blog post is about.  As you write more, you may want to display a listing of labels and people can choose to read about a certain topic.

You've just written a simple blog post!  We have not added pictures - that's another lesson. 

Comments anyone? 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Due Diligence and The List


I know I said we'd write a blog post today.  

I was playing with my 4 year old great nephew tonight.  We were playing Tent.  He said we have to make a list in order to play right.  I wrote, he dictated.  
Blanket - check.
chairs - check.
kids (stuffed animals) - check.
pillows - check.
weights to hold blanket on the chairs - check.

We were ready to go.  We had almost forgot the weights!  Thank God for the list.  


Let's make sure you've done your due diligence and wrote your list. 

1. Did you choose a name and get a website?

2. Did you view A LOT of other blogs?

3. Did you write your about me page?

4. Did you figure out your 30 day plan? 

5. Have you figured out what you want to be known for?

Okay, you ready to play? 


Monday, March 9, 2009

Make A Blog


Have you decided on a name for your blog?  Go to www.godaddy.com and do a domain name search.  You can pay for a domain name - it's about $9.99.  Don't order anything else with it - you only want the name.   .com extensions are still the most popular and I recommend you stick with that.

Now, go to www.google.com  Click on the gmail link.  Set up a gmail account.  You will have this associated with your blog.  If you decided your blog name is Firstnamelastname.com - make your email address firstnamelastname@gmail.com

Okay, now go to www.blogger.com Click on Create A Blog.  Okay, sign in first with your gmail account.  

Title your blog.  This will appear at the top of your blog.

Put the name you decided on in the blog address (firstnamelastname)

Do the word verification.

Click on continue

Choose a template.  Look at them all.  Find one that fits your personality.

That's it.  You are ready to start blogging! 

Now, go back to www.godaddy.com  Sign in.  Go to Domains and then to My Domains. Click the box to the left of your website address and then click on Forward.  Click on enable forwarding box and Type in your blogspot address for example: (http://www.firstnamelastname.blogspot.com)  Choose 301 moved permanently.    Click on OK.

Now, when people go to www.firstnamelastname.com - they will automatically go to your blog!  

Take a break - you deserve it!    Tomorrow we will actually post an entry on your blog.  Think about what you want that post to be.  See you later! 





Sunday, March 8, 2009

News You Can Use



They say that home is where the heart is, but unfortunately, it's also where everyday products pose health dangers to you and your family. More than 33 million people are injured by common consumer products each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversaw 563 recalls of 60.8 million individual consumer products in 2008. (Make sure your home is safe by checking Recalls.gov.)And those are just the documented hazards. What may be the hidden ones?

The slinky little dryer sheets that keep clothes fresh are chock full of chemicals, including scary‐sounding ingredients like ethanol and alpha‐Pinene. Industry representatives says the exposure levels are too low to impact people but we think better safe than sorry. If only for peace of mind, try a few drops of essential oil on a washcloth instead.

Household bleach contains a concentrated form of chlorine. When people use chlorine bleach and an acidbased or ammonia‐based cleaning product together, or even one after the other, they produce a cloramine gas that can be fatal. Short term effects of chlorine exposure include vomiting, difficulty breathing, coughing,and eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation. Experts say the single most important thing to remember about cleaning products is that you need good ventilation when using them.

Scientific tests have shown that fragranced home products, everything from spray disinfectants to scented candles, contain known carcinogens and other dangerous additives. Some fragrances can contain 100 or more different chemicals ‐‐ none of which are required by law to be listed on the label ‐‐ and can cause nose and throat irritation, headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. Experts recommend making your home fragrant with scents straight from the source, such as mint leaves or cinnamon sticks.

In addition to containing known harmful ingredients like ammonia, lye, phosphate, and chlorine, the majority of home cleaning products (just about everything under your kitchen sink) contain a vast array of chemicals, including toxic ethylene‐based glycol ethers and noneffects of "second hand scents" in everything from air toxic terpenes that become dangerous when they interact with ozone in the air.Experts say the single most important thing to remember about cleaning products is that you need good ventilation when using them.

Dr. Anne Steinemann, a professor of engineering at the University of Washington, has long warned about the fresheners to laundry detergent, spray disinfectants to scented candles. In 2007, she performed a chemical analysis of 30 of the bestselling scented household products and found that they contained known carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals. (The study appeared in 2008 in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review.) The products she studied contained more than two dozen volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which the EPA says can cause nose and throat irritation, headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. Together, the products Steinemann tested contained more than 100 different chemicals, none of which were listed on the labels. "The labels look benign," Steinemann says. "But some of these chemicals are classified as toxic under federal laws and can be affecting you even without your knowledge." She recommends making your home fragrant with scents straight from the source, such as mint leaves or cinnamon sticks.

The slinky little dryer sheets that keep clothes fresh are chock full of chemicals, including ethanol and chloroform. The ingredient benzyl acetate has been linked to pancreatic cancer and benzyl alcohol is known to cause upper respiratory irritation. When it reacts with ozone, the ingredient limonene can form formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, or cancer‐causing agent. "We have gotten used to these wonderful lifestyles with 'better living through chemicals,'" says Kathy Loidolt, a consumerhealth advocate and author of the Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living. "But our bodies are being overloaded with toxins. We don't need to be scared of everything. We just need to get different habits."

"Watch warning labels," says Robin Kay Levine, the founder of EcoMe green cleaning products. No one expects consumers to be experts, however, or to know which funnysounding chemicals are known carcinogens. Levine advises, "Look for products that give away the ingredients. Stay away from anything with a color in it. Labels that say 'keep windows open' and 'use in a ventilated room' are a dead giveaway."

reprinted from Advancing With Us Newsletter written by Dr. Skip Feinstein.   picture courtesy of Michelle Pathe at flickr.com 

contact Deb for more information on how to get toxins out of your home  deb@debworks.com 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Take A Walk?


Chris Brogan is one of my go to guys for all things social media.  He recommended I  read a blog called Levite Chronicles written by Jon Swanson.  Today Jon wrote about this sidewalk.  Hes part of a writing group led by Robert Hruzek.  Today the assignment was to write about What I Learned From a Sidewalk.

Did you see that? All those people?  That's a network.  A loose one.  We are surrounded by loose networks.  Its really up to us to decide if we want to strengthen the network or leave it loose.  

I shop at an independent bookstore called the Kaliedoscope.  It's in my home town.  My friend Denise told me about the store.  I may not have found it because it's on a side street.  The first time I went there, the owner was there.  Keri was nice and very knowledgeable about books.   I spent quite a bit of time there and eventually became friends with Keri. 

Keri told me about Judy who owns another store, Cornerstone Cottage.  I never would have shopped there on my own.  It's a gift store, fun store, cool store!  Now I shop there because Keri told me about Judy.  Now Judy and I are friends.

Judy told me about her friend Karolyn.  She thought Karolyn might like to know more about what I do.  I called her.  She's a client of mine now.  

The network is Denise-Keri-Judy-Karolyn.  It's a network I've worked on strengthening.  If I didn't hang out at the bookstore, no friendship would have developed between Keri and myself -- so no Keri-Judy-Karolyn.

So I see networking like walking sidewalks.  You can just walk on the sidewalk you know and keep seeing the things you are used to seeing.  Or you can stop and visit a friend.  Turn at the corner and see what's down that street.  Make a left and go to the park.  

My point? Denise, Keri, Judy, Karolyn are all clients of mine.  Now.  We are a network.  The detours I took introduced me to remarkable women who recognized the value I bring to the table - and they joined my network.    

Are you building networks? 

Image provided by Editor B over at flickr.com 

Blog and Branding


Are you thinking about writing a blog?  Think hard about what your personal brand is first.  Chris Brogan says, "The first secret trick about personal branding is that first, you have to be known for something."

You may work for a company and want to write about that.  You may have a great personal life and want to write about that.  Remember that who you are must shine through.  You are your personal brand!  

I've been thinking about what I'm known for and how that translates into what my personal brand is.  I love to ask questions.  I'm great at disseminating information and then sharing it.  I'm passionate about shopping local and working from home.  How do those qualities merge into what my personal brand is?  Interviews and information for and about small businesses and network marketers - that's what this blog is about.  

This week we will talk about building a blog.  First though there is some due diligence to be done.  Give thought to what you are known for.  Take some notes.  Mull it over.  Then take a look at some other blogs.  Here's a few recommendations of people I follow regularly.

denisethinksgreen.blogspot.com  Denise is new to blogging and she's going to be good at it.  She knows who she is and she shares that with you.  

www.terrystarbucker.com Ramblings from a glass half full.  

www.chrisbrogan.com The social media strategist.  He's a great writer, funny, insightful.

www.thecasualgardener.com Shawna gets your metaphorically naked and shows you how to get healthier and be closer to nature.  She's also a big supporter of other bloggers/tweeters on the net.

oldfeminist.blogspot.com  Here's a woman who lets you know exactly who she is!  And she's funny! 






Friday, March 6, 2009

Balance


It's very easy to be out of balance in your business.  In life - we are often also out of balance.  

If you've developed your 30-60-90 day plans (and you should), be sure to include some personal time.  If you are new in your industry (as a  lot of network marketers are), know that you will be out of balance.  It's part and parcel of the business.  

Network marketing is not trading dollars for hours.  You don't receive X amount of dollars for X amount of hours.  At first, you'll be working your behind off and receiving very little money.  After a while (hopefully a short while) the money starts to look right.  Then .... ah then, you will start receiving money you can't believe in.  Can those checks be that big?  Yes!  Now your job is to teach others to do the same.

Back to balance -- I'm going to have a little balance this weekend.  It's my 2 year old great neice's birthday party Saturday. (Isn't she adorable?  Don't you just love that funny face?)  

I'll also be meeting with friends Saturday morning and brainstorming on how to increase our customer database locally.  There will be phone calls made to clients and potential clients.  Church, haircut, blogging, writing, tweeting - and always walking and talking.  

I merge my business with my personal life - and I'm working on getting better at that.  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Twitter Day Two - Tweetdeck


Yesterday you got started on twitter.  Today we're going to explore twitter just a little further and try a few fun tools.  

I noticed I gave you all men to follow - so let's add some women today.  
http://www.twitter.com/shawnacoronado The Naked Gardener (no she's not naked, but she is a great read!)
http://www.twitter.com/kellywissink a business woman who has built her business totally online
http://www.twitter.com/AmberCadabra another business woman who knows the social media industry inside and out

A couple of tips for www.twitter.com
1. click on the Home button - it will refresh your page and bring in new tweets
2. click on find people.  If you put your email address and password here, it will check your email contacts to see who is on twitter!
3. while you're in the find people section - look at suggested users.  There might be someone there you want to follow (like my Iowa boy Ashton Kutcher)

Are you following a lot of people?  More than 40?  Keep following people and enjoy the stream!  You may start to think "good Lord, how am I going to pay attention to what all of these people are saying?".  

 The answer is: you don't.  When I first started I was on twitter for hours and hours - time I didn't have.  Then I was introduced to tweetdeck.  It's purpose is to take the big stream and make it more manageable and easy to follow.  Go to http://www.tweetdeck.com  Scroll to bottom of the page and download tweetdeck.  

You will be able to take all those people talking and sort them into columns.  The default columns are All Tweets, @replies (people talking to you) and Direct Messages (people talking to you and no one else can see the comments).    

At the top are some icons.  
Tweet (click on that and it opens up the box where you can tweet -talk).
All Friends (this is tied to the column where everyone is talking)
Replies (this is tied to the column where people reply to you)
Direct Message (this is tied to the column where people who follow you can talk directly to you and no one else will see these comments)
Favorites (if you really like a comment you can save it to your favorites)
Group (you can set up a group and add people to that group and everything they tweet will go there)
Search (you can search for tweets around a certain topic and they will appear in their own column)
Twitscoop (this column will show you topics people are talking about and what is trending across twitter)
12 second TV (click this and it will pull up a column with different 12 second videos to watch)
Stock Twits (frankly, I haven't used this one)

Click on the Groups icon.  Let's make a column for the people whose tweets you don't want to miss.  I named mine Social Media.  I'm following people who usually have interesting things to see and give me great links to follow and read.  You can name yours whatever you want!  Maybe you want to put your friends in this column.  Maybe you are following a group of gardeners and want to not miss what they are saying.  

When you use Tweetdeck you don't have to constantly refresh the page - it will do it for you.  It will also post in the upper right hand corner Tweetdeck Notifications when tweets come in.  It will tell you how many and from which column.  I run tweetdeck all day long - and when I see notifications from my Social Media column, I'll go look.  Otherwise, I just ignore it.  

Now you should have some tweets coming through.  If you move your mouse over the avatar (the person's face) it will give you four options:
reply
direct message
retweet
other

If you wish to reply click on that, if you want to send a direct message click on that.  If you really like what they said and you want your followers to see it too - click on retweet.  The other icon allows you to follow or unfollow that person, add them to a group, check out their profile, delete the message and a few other things.

At the bottom of each column are some icons as well.  Move your mouse over them to see what they are.  I use clear all tweets a lot (it will delete them all and then they are gone).  The arrow allows you to move the column wherever you want it to be.  My columns are in this order: all tweets, @replies, Social Media, Direct messages.  Those four columns fill up one page.  If I want to see the other columns I need to click on the slider bar at the bottom of the page and slide it over.  

Enjoy tweetdeck and remember -- have a conversation, share some information and make new friends! 

picture of cat on laptop w/tweetdeck on the screen courtesy of dprevite at flickr.com